Aggies start season with Texas A&M Invitational on Friday morning

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COLLEGE STATION – A crew of 31 Aggies will race on the morning of Friday, Sept. 13, in the Texas A&M Invitational held on the Dale Watts Cross Country course. The field of teams include Baylor, SMU, TCU, UTRGV, UTSA, and West Texas A&M.

The men will race over an 8,000 meter course at 8 a.m. and the women compete over 5,000 meters at 8:45 a.m. In addition there will be high school races for boys and girls over a 5,000m course starting at 9:15 a.m. Admission is free and live results will be available at www.flashresults.com.

“It’ll be nice to finally get a race under our belts this weekend since we had to cancel the Aggie Opener due to weather,” noted Texas A&M assistant coach Wendel McRaven. “We’ve had some great training for the past month, so now I want to see how they compete and how they line up. It’s a big difference on what we do Monday and Tuesday compared to what we want to execute on Friday.”

From the preseason South Central regional rankings this season, the Aggies enter the meet ranked No. 3 for the men and women. Men’s rankings include No. 6 UTRGV among the top 15 while the women’s rankings include No. 6 Baylor, No. 7 SMU, No. 8 UTRGV, and No. 14 TCU.

The Texas A&M men’s crew will include 11 athletes at the starting line along with four additional runners competing unattached. In the women’s race, the Aggies will have 20 racing along with a pair of unattached entries.

“Some people look great in training and we need to see how they react when it’s time to step up and race,” said McRaven. “I’ve kind of challenged all our kids, both on the men’s and women’s sides, in these early season meets and we want to get a true assessment of where they’re at. We need them to relax and do what they are capable of doing in a race.”

Among the group of A&M men racing this week, the top returners from last year’s meet include the trio of Brandt Preston, Zephyr Seagraves and Wes McPhail. They placed 15-16-17 for the Aggies with Gavin Hoffpauir finishing 23rd a year ago.

Kelsie Warren and Ashley Driscoll return as the top finishers for the A&M women after placing third and 13th, respectively, over a 6k course a year ago. Other returners racing for the Aggies this week include Grace Plain, Megan Hooper, Lauryn Barrientos and Olivia Arriaza, who placed 25-34-35-36 last season.